How do you know that?

25 Jan

“How do you know that?” he asked me.  In need of a bathroom, I had entered an open door in the school along my route.  When I couldn’t find a public restroom, I stopped the first person in the building I could find.  He looked like a student cadre member at a military school.  He let me use his own private facilities in his ensuite dorm room.

How we got started about which news you could trust, I don’t know.  But when he made a comment regarding ‘facts’ about the new administration, I replied:  “But the media is biased toward the left’s political agenda!”

That’s when he came back with the question that stymied me.  How DID I know that?

I couldn’t very well reply:

  • Well, that’s what I read/hear/think!

If that’s all I can come up with, then I’m no better than the non-thinking masses. You know about whom I’m writing? – the ones I accuse of just parroting what they hear, without sorting out reasons for what they believe?

That dialogue and unsettling realization about my lack of preparedness took place in a snippet of last night’s dream.

But a real-live similar conversation last fall in Boston got me thinking about my deficit in study.

Sharing a room with a teacher colleague afforded plenty of time to talk.  She and I engaged at one point in some discussion about a few controversial issues taking place in our home state of North Carolina.  The issue that revealed my gaps was the so-called ‘bathroom law’.  I found that I could not articulate well why I found it objectionable that a transgendered person could choose the bathroom that matched his/her/its gender feelings.

It could have been the stress of having to think on my feet, because upon calm reflection later several points came to mind:

  • sexually abused women could suffer flash back emotional trauma when confronted by a biological male transgendered into a woman
  • young girls could be prey for a sexual aggressor
  • privacy issues

The point was I felt unprepared in our conversation.

My dream last night underscored the same feeling.

However, I did experience one positive, but unexpected conversation earlier in the week.  A school colleague (not the same one as in Boston) answered my question about a planned faculty female trip to Washington, DC.  She explained that it was to attend a rally supporting women’s rights.  We got talking about abortion.  I HAD done enough study in pro-life tactics to know the pivotal issue:

  • What is the fetus?

If it is NOT a human life, then the woman carrying it has every right to dispose of it as she sees fit.

But if it IS a human life, then that unborn child has the right to life.

We had a civil exchange and left it like this:

  • I place the rights of the unborn baby over the rights of the woman
  • She places the rights of the woman over the right to life of the child

Although I’m pleased that I could at least make a partial case for why destroying a life is murder, I want to be better prepared for the next conversation.

And last night’s dream has motivated me to know and be able to articulate WHY I believe what I do across many issues.

Logical Janes and Joes must do their homework in order to be a force for clear thinking and moral logic!

 

2 Responses to “How do you know that?”

  1. Darlene N Bocek January 25, 2017 at 12:01 pm #

    I had a similar encounter (real life) with a new convert, Islam–>Catholic–>Protestant. I was talking about the implications today of Monophysite teaching (i.e.: transubstantiation vs. the resurrected body of Christ not being omnipresent), and he hit me with “that’s just opinion.” How we interpret “in this same way he will return” is opinion, how we interpret the creeds is opinion. I was stymied. I wish I had an answer to express the depth of confusion he had. As if we can NEVER know. The fact is, the early church fathers in their debates at the first councils believed truth CAN be known. The things they stated in the confessions and creeds were taking a stand on Foundational Ideas. Not opinion on truth, but consensus on interpretation based on the perspicuity of Scripture. A relativistic culture cannot quite understand that.

    • Maria January 25, 2017 at 1:40 pm #

      I am copying your final point “Not opinion on truth, but consensus on interpretation based on the perspicuity of Scripture.” It reminds me of our pastor’s response to ‘How could a good God do X, Y, Z?’ it was “God is true to His Word” It’s neither you nor I who are interpreting God. It’s the Bible that tells us what God is like.

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